Judge Reduces Telsa Damages For Discrimination

Tesla Inc. was awarded $137 million by a jury on Wednesday in a case against the company. However, a federal judge reduced the award to $15,000,000 after calling the evidence “disturbing.”

U.S. District Judge William Orrick reduced punitive damages awarded in an October 2021 verdict. He called $130 million “unconstitutionally high” and also decreased compensatory damages from $6.9m to $1.5m.

In October, a California jury found Tesla guilty for failing to address racial discrimination against a Black worker in the Fremont, Calif. auto plant. Owen Diaz, a worker, claimed that he was subjected to hostile work environments and racist abuses between 2015 and 2016 and that his supervisors failed to intervene.

Tesla TSLA +3.59% denied that it knew of the racist conduct. Orrick rejected this argument Wednesday and stated that evidence proved the Tesla plant was “saturated with racism”.

He wrote, “This isn’t, as Tesla attempts it to frame, a case of garden variety’ emotion distress.”

The $137 million verdict in the case was the largest verdict in an individual discrimination case.

Tesla, which disbanded its media relations department last year, didn’t respond to a request Wednesday evening.

California is also suing Tesla over alleged “systematic racial harassment and discrimination” at the Fremont plant. In February, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed suit alleging that Black workers are subject to racial discrimination and harassment at their Fremont plant.

Tesla stated in a blog post that the lawsuit was “misguided and undermines credibility” and said the agency had never raised concerns about such practices at the facility.

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